And of making a rug, especially with friends.
I can’t pretend I’ve been unaffected by the news the past few weeks. It could easily start to feel like the world is crumbling around us. It may seem trivial at first to post about anything I usually talk about here. But I believe it’s not. Actually, I believe that we need our creative pursuits, the things that give us comfort and fulfillment, more than ever when times get rough. Even more than that, I believe that by making something with our hands, by sharing it with friends, by just cooking dinner and eating it with people and having a face-to-face, honest conversation, we are making a difference. Taking a small step towards the world we hope for,”being the change,” as Gandhi said.
Last week, during a dry spell in our monsoons, I decided it was time to wash the kitchen rugs. I wove the one shown here two years ago, at my friend Lauren’s house (but never posted these photos). It occurred to me while I was cleaning it that this rug is actually a pretty good metaphor for the value of craft in our lives. All the yarns I put in it are ones I saved from my grandma’s stash after she passed away—a reminder of our connection, the passing of knowledge between generations, and the “waste not, want not” I try to put into practice.
Weighing yarn and winding into balls, making a plan for the rug.
Lauren did the math, wound the warp (for several rugs, not just mine), and put it on the loom, so all I had to do was show up and weave, which was wonderful. We spent time together weaving and listening to music. We lit a fire. I remember other friends were there at least one day while I worked on the rug, doing what women have been doing for millennia: talking, eating, and making things together in community.
My rug on the loom.
The act of weaving brings up all kinds of good memories for me too, of learning to weave with my family and working on my grandma’s big loom. Like most textile crafts, the rhythm of the work is meditative. It calms my mind so that sometimes creative ideas bubble up, and other times I can think less, and just be. I’m coming to believe that just being is an important part of my growth as a human, something I need to carve out distraction-free time for, and practicing in fiber arts definitely helps me do that.
Looking through the warp at the rug in progress.
This week, it rained. The rain falling onto my high-desert home is a miracle of relief. Knowing that the forest will be sustained for a little while longer makes me feel better about everything—even politics, even tragedy. As long as we have the solace of nature, and a way to nurture our creativity, I think we’ll be alright. In fact, more than alright—I believe if we can keep those two things near the top of our collective priorities, we’re still working towards a better world.
Here’s to better weeks ahead!
The finished rug in the kitchen.
PS Karen wrote on a similar theme this week, and I found the comments on her post heartening. It involves seeking peace in the beauty of landscape and sheep …
This rug and your story about it touches my heart. I love that you have a bit of your grandmother in the project.
Thank you! I feel very lucky to have so many connections to her still, both the tangible things and the memories of things we did together.
Your rug is lovely! And I’m feeling very much as you are, but working with fiber definitely helps! Yesterday my 9 year old grandson and I wound some yarn I had spun into a skein and plan to dye it with some rabbitbrush, or possibly prickley pear, both of which grow across the road from our apartment. He is learning to spin on a drop spindle. As soon as I get my new hip next month, and can walk more than a few feet, we will pick our dye stuff and dye our yarn! I keep thinking our grandchildren are our future and that gives me hope. And the yarn we are dyeing is demo yarn from a demo I did in his classroom, where ALL the kids, boys and girls, were fascinated, and kept me there for an hour and a half!, answering their questions. That also gives me hope.
I love your blog and your rug, and all the clothes you so graciously show us. Thank you!
Thank you Heather! Your dye project sounds super fun, I love that your grandson will be able to pick the plant and make the dye. And I love that you spent time teaching the kids in his class about spinning! I think it’s so important that the digital generations coming up have a chance to see how physical things are made, and interact with materials themselves. All the best to you!
Indeed. To all of it. thank you, Tasha. -Kimbersew
Thank you Kimberly!
Totally gorgeous! Very inspiring – your blog is making my creative mind go in all kinds of directions! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for your kind words Tanya! I hope you find some ideas you can use!